2014_NHL_DRAFT-LOGO_BIG

Welcome to Day 2 of the draft

4 Comments

PHILADELPHIA — Greetings from Day 2 of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Here are a few things Brough and I’ll be keeping an eye on as we take in rounds two through seven from the draft floor…

— Will Ottawa make a move? All was quiet on the Jason Spezza front yesterday as the Sens watched Vancouver flip Ryan Kesler to Anaheim, removing one of the rumored suitors for Spezza in the process. That said, there are still a number of teams needing a center and believed to be in the Spezza mix, including St. Louis — who, it should be mentioned, has eight picks today and two in the second round.

— When will the first goalie be selected? Last year, Montreal made Zach Fucale the first netminder taken with the sixth pick (36th overall) in Round 2; today, it’ll be interesting to see where NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked netminder — Boston College’s Thatcher Demko — gets snapped up.

— How many deals will get done? It’s hard to use the ’13 Draft as a comparison because the entire thing was conducted on one day but, two years ago in Pittsburgh, a pair of noteworthy trades happened on Day 2: Luke Schenn went to Philly for James van Riemsdyk, and Benoit Pouliot went to Tampa Bay for a pick and a prospect. We also saw negotiating rights change hands (Winnipeg acquired Jonas Gustavsson), though that’s less likely to happen today given teams are now able to contact players headed for free agency on July 1.

— Will yesterday’s cap number force some teams to adjust? Per CapGeek, the $69 million ceiling means Chicago and Philly are already over the cap; Boston (who is still working on a new deal for Jarome Iginla) and Los Angeles are both within $4 million of hitting the roof, so to speak.

— Will another buyout be used? Yesterday, the Sharks confirmed they’d use one of their two compliance buyouts on Martin Havlat while the Coyotes used a standard buyout on Mike Ribeiro. With just two days remaining before the amnesty window closes, it’s possible someone else pulls the trigger before things are done at Wells Fargo.

Should be a fun day. Stay tuned to PHT for all the latest from Philly…

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

Leave a comment

Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

Leave a comment

Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

1 Comment

After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
1 Comment

It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.